2010 class already making impact

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While most people are still scratching their heads at what they saw from Florida’s offense in the season opener against Miami (Ohio), they should be excited at the idea of how many true freshmen saw time last Saturday.

Florida led the nation by playing 15 true freshmen last week. Auburn came in second by fielding 14, and Florida State followed with 13. Of the 15 that played for the Gators, eight of them started on special teams.

Here’s a list of the young guys who suited up and played for the Gators against the Redhawks:

1. DE Ronald Powell
2. DT Sharriff Floyd
3. DT Dominique Easley
4. QB Trey Burton
5. CB Cody Riggs
6. CB Jaylen Watkins
7. S Matt Elam
8. CB Josh Shaw
9. S Jonathan Dowling
10. TE Gerald Christian
11. RB Mack Brown
12. OT Kyle Koehne
13. OT Ian Silberman
14. WR Robert Clark
15. WR Quinton Dunbar

Most played on special teams, but the group that made the biggest impact was the defensive line. Coach Urban Meyer singled out Powell and Floyd as playing the best of the freshmen. When the frosh linemen got in, there didn’t seem to be much of a drop off as far as the pass rush was concerned. Floyd led the freshmen with three tackles, while Powell and Easley recorded a tackle each.

“Early impressions are … big dudes going in there and playing hard,” Meyer said of the freshmen linemen. “They probably didn’t play great because it was the first time in that atmosphere.”

Burton was the most exciting guy to watch on the field. Signing as a quarterback, he did everything but throw the ball for the Gators Saturday. He started on kickoff, lined up in the backfield, was a wide receiver, played some tight end and was the wildcat quarterback. He ran the ball twice for 4 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown and caught one pass for 2 yards.

Meyer said Thursday that it’s rare to find someone that versatile who can play pretty much anywhere. The players he compared Burton to were Percy Harvin and Aaron Hernandez. That’s pretty impressive to say the least.

“Somehow we hit a home run with that one,” Meyer said of Burton.

Burton has also moved up to No. 2 on the quarterback depth chart ahead of fellow true freshman Tyler Murphy.

Saturday, I expect to see more contributions from the freshmen. I think Gerald Christian will actually get time at tight end this week because that is a position of need for this offense. With senior cornerback Moses Jenkins out, either Josh Shaw or Jaylen Watkins will get some decent time as the third corner. Receivers Robert Clark and Quinton Dunbar should get into more plays and now that Chris Dunkley is healthy, he might make his Gator debut as well.

I also doubt that with Florida’s offensive line relatively healthy (and not suspended) tackle Ian Silberman will have to line up at tight end this week. If the offense gets rolling, he should get reps at one of the tackle spots. Maybe even Mack Brown can get some carries at running back. The coaches have praised his strength and running style and he could be a garbage-time monster.

Of course, for the freshmen on offense to get some time, there actually has to be offensive movement (forward) this weekend against South Florida. The old cliche is that teams make their biggest improvements from game one to game two. Well, that will be imperative if the 2010 class is to continue its impressive start.

7 COMMENTS

  1. The problems aren’t just focused around the fumbling snaps from Center or the mighty mite running backs with all speed and NO power but the play calling that resulted in the lack of movement. You know things are bad for your offensive passing schemes when even the TV announcers are talking about nothing but RB’s and screen passes when refering to your passing game.

    Brantley is a pure passer, Dunkley, Debose, Hammonds and TE Christianson are athletic receivers that can actually catch and Mack Brown is a power back, Demps and Rainey are third down change of pace backs. Urban Meyer needs to get his head on straight and have his coaching staff put together an offensive identity that plays well with this group of players and stop trying to live in the past with Tebow. ***NEWS FLASH*** Tim Tebow now plays for the Denver Broncos.

    This young defense is going to be great, REAL SOON, so get the offense on the same page and get your chomp on!

  2. Oh how I agree with Drew! I couldnt believe the play calling during the game and was saying so to all around me. You have a quarterback like Brantley and your first 2 plays are runs?, to put you into 3rd and long so the defense can shut down your throwing lanes? I know you take what the defense gives you but those were designed plays. I went on all game, use his arm already!
    Btw I’m sick of writes saying Dropped a touchdown pass, he had his arm yanked down by the defender who never touched the ball so it was pass interference which no one has written! Is was clearly on the replay, I never expect the dufuses on TV to get it right , but the writers?! Especially you Robbie!

  3. Urban Meyer knows just what he’s doing. He’s brought in a class comparable to the Tebow/Harvin group and his coordinators are blending them in wonderfully with the upperclassmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores on this team. Meyer, Mullen and Addazio all have keen ability to adjust the offenses they design to the talent on hand, so Florida has utilized many different playmakers since Urban arrived in Gainesville. With a strong semblance of the O-line Addazio thought he would have now bck in place, the Gators will roll.

  4. Someone else needs to head up the O-line. Addazio needs to be able to focus solitary on managing the offence. Team effort needs to emprove. Once again D.T. and Moore off to a slow start catching the football in the end zone. Backs need to hang on to the rock and look the ball in before running. Same thing with QB.

  5. Having read about the offensive line all summer, and then witnessing its debacle last Saturday, I knew that their play had to be an aberration. Now, reading all week about which offensive linemen missed the game, and how all of them but Pouncey played out of position, I am certain we will not see such ineptitude out of this group again. Especially now that they’re more healthy and not suspended. If this line gets into a rhythm, we will roll over any team. Hopefully, it begins today and we make up some lost ground from last week.

  6. I’ve always felt the OC should be up in the box (to see the entire field). The OL coach can be on the field and just focus on the line. FL play-calling has suffered, in MYO, since we lost Dan Mullen. I should be more accurate and fair–imaginative play-calling has suffered.

    It would sure be nice for this offense to hold the number of screens to less than 80% of their pass plays. SA used the excuse that you take what the opponent gives you. That’s true to a certain extent, but come on. We are in big trouble if our receivers can’t make something happen against the RedHawks (with all due respect).